Track Selection: Nigerian Walk
Clare Fischer (p) Gary Peacock (b) Gene Stone (d) recorded April 1962 by Richard Bock for Pacific Jazz.
I had overlooked Clare Fischer for the same reason I initially overlooked Tina Brooks. Jazz is men’s work, you can’t have girly bebop. Turned out Tina was a corruption of his childhood nickname Tiny, and Clare Fischer is a man evidenced by that sculpted beard and moustache. A lot to learn, setting out on the jazz journey.
Down Beat awarded Fischer’s trio five stars. The Gramophone wrote of the trio: “Fischer is that comparatively rare figure in jazz, a writer with considerable instrumental technique…the most mature and intelligent keyboard jazz since the last Bill Evans LP”
Ooops, the name Bill Evans was bound to crop up. Comparison is inevitable. The combination of Gary Peacock’s bass and Fischer’s piano is definitely reminiscent of Evans and La Faro, though in a good way. If you like Evans, you will almost certainly enjoy Fischer. He later went on to be mainly a studio professional, but at this time Fischer was working firmly within Bill Evan’s orbit of the piano trio as three autonomous musicians, and not piano with rhythm section.
Back to Gramophone: “Gary Peacock plays so brilliantly throughout this record that the LP would be worth the price just for his work alone. Peacock is certainly one of the most amazing bass players to arrive during the last decade; when taking solos he shows a predilection for upper register notes, but these are played perfectly in tune. The drummer, Gene Stone, is swift and efficient” So no Paul Motian then.
Vinyl: Fontana 688 124 ZL black and silver Fontana label, pressing by Decca
UK 1st release of Pacific Jazz PJ/PJS 52, produced by the excellent Richard Bock for his West Coast label. Bock had clear ideas what jazz should sound like, and delivered here a clearly superior recording in which each member of the trio has a credible physical presence. Decca were no slouches either, with quality pressing which retains the rich dynamic range essential when such contrasting instruments as piano acoustic bass and drums are on the stage.
(Note to myself – to add matrix photo)
Following recent success in sticker removal, I set my sites in the cover’s Downbeat five-star award sticker, only to find it is printed photographically as part of the cover. So it gets to stay.
Fischer is nowhere near as collectible as Bill Evans with his Kamikaze following weighed down by bulging cheque books. With Fischer being somewhat underrated, you get thoughtful great sounding music at a very modest price. Even if his name is “Clare”.